Job 38:4-11, 16-18 - "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed'? ... Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this."
The first time I heard it, it made me laugh. Someone was complaining about a situation, and the other person lifted a shoulder, shrugged, and said, "Not my circus. Not my monkeys." He meant, of course, that it was none of his business. That area was under somebody else's authority, and so he didn't feel the need to fix the problems. He would leave that to the person in charge.
God is saying something similar to Job in our reading for today. He gives him a breathtaking tour of creation—the earth, the sea, the clouds, the deep places of the world—and challenges him: "Where were you, when I did all this? Can you do these things? Tell me, if you know all this."
Of course, Job can give no answer. It's not his circus, and it's not his monkeys. He can only be silent. And when God presses him, he says, "I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (Job 42:3b).
So far, so embarrassing. God has put Job firmly in his place. And yet there's good news here, and not just embarrassment. Because these things—all of creation, all that exists—these are God's circus, God's monkeys. They are under His authority, and where there are problems, He is in charge of fixing them.
What does that mean for us, then? It means that we can have peace, knowing that everything is in God's hands. He is not sleeping or unaware of the many and deep, deep problems that are in our world. He cares. He is watching, and taking action. We are not on our own.
But how can we know this? you might ask. We know it by His promises, but above all by His Son, Jesus Christ. Our God is an interventionist God. He cares about our problems so much He even entered our world as one of us, as a human being, to suffer, die, and rise again for our sake. He came as a Man to break the power of evil on the cross. He conquered death for all of us when He rose from the grave. This is not a God who says, "Deal with your problems by yourself." No, it is a God who says, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
These are God's monkeys, and this is His circus. He is in control, and He will save us.
THE PRAYER: Father, help me to trust in You when I am afraid. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever been tempted to take responsibility for more than you could handle?
2. What problems in the world frighten you? Name one or two.
3. When you are frightened, how do you find comfort and hope?
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